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Preludes and Nocturnes

Preludes and Nocturnes (1991) is the first collection of issues in the DC Comics series, The Sandman. Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Sam Kieth[?], Mike Dringenberg[?] and Malcolm Jones III[?], and lettered by Todd Klein[?].

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

This collection features the first eight issues of the series. It is clearly less mature work than the later collections; the series really finds its feet with the second collection, The Doll's House. The story of this first collection focusses more on the nominal protagonist of the series, Morpheus, than any other collection (excepting perhaps the fourth, Season of Mists).

At the start of the collection, Morpheus is captured and encased in a glass globe in a failed attempt by a fictional Edwardian magician (very much in the vein of Aleister Crowley) named Roderick Burgess to bind Death. Refusing to answer Burgess' entreaties, Morpheus bides his time until Burgess dies, his son Alex taking over his father's prisoner. As Alex ages and his guards grow careless, Morpheus is finally able to escape.

The rest of the story concerns Morpheus' attempts to recover the tools of his craft: a pouch of sand, a helm and a ruby, dispersed by Burgess following his capture. The pouch is being kept by a former girlfriend of John Constantine's, a character from Alan Moore's series Swamp Thing. Once that is recovered, Dream travels to hell to regain the helm from a demon. The ruby is last, being kept by John Dee, a character from the Justice League of America series. He has changed the ruby, so that using it hurts Dream. Dee destroys the ruby, thinking that it will kill Dream, but it in fact releases the power that Dream had put into the ruby, making him as powerful as he ever was.

The most notable issues in the collection are #6, "24 Hours", and #8, "The Sound of her Wings", the first story to feature Morpheus' elder sister, Death. The issues in the collection originally appeared between 1988 and 1989. The collection first appeared in paperback in 1991 and in hardback in 1995.

It was followed by The Doll's House.

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